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Orders of the Day — Regional Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:51 pm on 8th July 1981.

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Photo of Mr Keith Best Mr Keith Best , Anglesey 5:51 pm, 8th July 1981

It is a shame that the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Varley) does not make his electioneering speeches in Warrington instead of forcing us to suffer them. He should have directed his remarks to the serious issues raised by the debate.

Until we heard the right hon. Gentleman's speech, none of us realised how rattled the Labour Party must be by its opponents in the Warrington by-election. The right hon. Gentleman devoted the lion's share of his speech to the by-election and, by default, did not deal with the major problems that we ought to be discussing.

It was a disappointment to me and my hon. Friends and, I am sure, to many Labour Members that the right hon. Gentleman did not make one constructive proposal. It is easy to say that the Government have got it wrong, but we have to judge such comments in the light of the alternatives that are proffered and the right hon. Gentleman put forward no alternative. All that he did was to refer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath). I do not know whether my right hon. Friend represents the aspirations and policies of the Labour Party. We have no way of telling, even after the right hon. Gentleman's speech.

The right hon. Member for Chesterfield mentioned my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, who has been sitting in the Chamber throughout the debate. I am sure that there are many good reasons why the shadow Secretary of State for Wales is not on the Opposition Front Bench.